St. Lawrence Dentistry is privileged to see many children go from being toddlers to this important phase of young adulthood (13-17yrs). This is a period marked by changes in their body chemistry and also more independence. This greater independence means there are choices children will make which can positively or negatively affect their oral health. It is up to you as parents and us as your child’s dentist to make them aware of what to expect and educate how they can make the best decisions for themselves.
All the permanent teeth have usually some in around age 13 (with the exception of the wisdom teeth). The second molars are further back then any teeth they have had before and some teens need reminders to get all the way back when they brush and floss. The wisdom teeth are developing below the gums and make an appearance around age 17. Before this age your child may experience some discomfort from the growing wisdom teeth buds. In some cases the wisdom teeth actually develop earlier than this age and need to be removed as the jaw has not grown large enough to accommodate them yet. In other cases the gum (gingiva) around the wisdom teeth just needs to be cleaned with an ultrasonic instrument in order for it to settle down. If your child is having discomfort behind their second molar please book an appointment with Dr. Hawryluk and he will determine the best approach to take. Once the wisdom teeth have come in there will be 32 teeth in total and this will complete the adult dentition. By age 18 the bones of the face and jaw have also neared their developmental completion, however the muscles of the face and mouth are still developing.
For more information about wisdom teeth please visit us here:
In this age range your teen must take more responsibility for their own well being. However, some still may need a lot of encouragement and coaching about their oral health from both parents and St. Lawrence Dentistry. Sometimes gentle reminders from parents help whereas in other situations they need more strict decrees from parents. You of course know your child best and what tact will work for them. If your child is struggling with home care please feel free to call St. Lawrence Dentistry ahead of their appointment and we can set aside extra time at the his/her hygiene visit to talk to them and help them see the benefits of oral hygiene. If they understand that oral hygiene can affect the way they look, smell, and feel; they in most cases will be more motivated.
Puberty is usually around ages 11-13 for girls and 12-14 for boys and ushers in changes which affect oral health. Girls often experience inflamed gums as the bodies estrogen increasers increases blood flow to the mouth. This is also a time when body chemistry signals the need for more calories consumed to help fuel the mouth and rest of bodies wide scale development during this period. However, many teens often like to consume foods which are sugary and devoid of critical nutrients. This can have a very negative impact and lead to a weaker bone structure for the rest of their life. It imperative that adolescents be encouraged to eat foods that will help them instead of bring them down. Please let us know if you would like Dr. Hawryluk to go over healthy eating habits with your teen. You may want to review Canada’s food guide with them.
That guide can be found here:
Drinks with a high acidic content such as sodas can have a harmful effect on teeth. They easily soften teeth to the point where the enamel can just flake off. Sometimes singers and cheerleaders suck on lemons to help clear their throats before they perform. In other cases, adolescents use lemons to mask the taste of other beverages they are consuming. People that consume more than 3 sugary drinks a day are 62% more likely to have tooth decay. Many teens view drinks like orange juice as very healthy and they do have true health benefits like a high Vitamin C level. However, they sometimes are unaware that they are are high in acidity and sugar and need to be consumed with moderation. If your child insists on having sodas consider buying the small portion cans and limit them to only a couple per week. If you live in Mississauga the smaller portion cans can be found at Longos Supermarket in Applewood Plaza. The bathing time of the sugar with the teeth can directly correlate to the erosion level so it is important that they consume it over a ten minute period or less rather than sip one can throughout several hours. St. Lawrence Dentistry offers treatments to fix dental erosion from acidity. However, the goal is to take preventative measures and not arrive in a situation which needs repair in the first place.
You can show your teen examples of dental erosion on the link below. This might to motivate them in their oral care regime.
Canker sores in young people are commonly seen at St. Lawrence Dentistry as they happen to one in five people. Their onset can correlate to the hormonal changes during puberty and their first appearance can be uncomfortable and puzzling to your adolescent child. Canker sores are also called ‘aphthous ulcers’ are shallow open sores which can appear in many areas of the mouth. The exact cause is not determined but, in addition to hormone changes, they are related stress levels, genetics, and allergies. They are not contagious and usually last for about 2 weeks before they disappear on their own. Your child may will first experience a tingly sensation and and the area will be slightly bumpy and red. Eventually the area bursts into an open sore. During their presence you can allay your child’s discomfort by placing a wet black tea bag next to the area as the tea tannin has a soothing quality. Avoid citrous fruits and cinnamon during this period. Over the counter medications containing benzocaine and eucalyptus can also help. St. Lawrence Dentistry uses our local our local Port Credit Shoppers Drug Mart at Lakeshore and Maple frequently and we know they have an excellent selection of products which can help relieve canker sore pain.
There website can be found here:
Tongue or lip piercings in this age group are quite common and most teens are unaware that they can lead to chipped teeth, and even blood poisoning and clots. It is relatively rare, but there are many documented cases where a tongue piercing has caused the tongue to swell so much that it becomes a real medical emergency. If the piercing needle touches a nerve or vessel it can lead to parasthesia (loss of sensation) or uncontrolled bleeding. About 20% of people with mouth piercings will develop tooth fractures or gum recession. St. Lawrence Dentistry recommends no piercing in the mouth as none are 100% safe for your adolescent child. However, if they are going to get one no matter advice they get to the contrary, you can establish some ground rules. Insist that the piercing be done with a certified professional following the strictest guidelines for sterility. Ask questions and ask to see their credentials and what protocols they follow. After the piercing the you should rinse with a chorhexidine based wash several times a day for 2 weeks. If moderate redness, discomfort, or swelling develops you should contact Dr. Hawryluk or your medical doctor immediately.
Bulimia be a serious problem for adolescents and is often detected at our Mississauga dental office. One glaring marker for bulimia is when the dentist sees the back of the upper incisors completely smooth and worn down. This is caused by the repeated regurgitation of the stomach acids. The teeth are left in a very soft state after these regurgitation events for several hours and brushing during this time period can accelerate the wear of the teeth. If bulimia is left unchecked it can transpire into serious medical issues for your child such as kidney infections and heart irregularities. If your child is under 18 years of age Dr. Hawryluk can talk to you, the parent, privately and refer your child to proper medical care. St. Lawrence Dentistry will take the appropriate steps with your permission to ensure the teeth are protected while the bulimia is being treated. One way is fabrication of thin plastic trays at our office which can be worn to protect the teeth from acid. Remineralizing solutions can be put in the trays, such as MI paste, further enhancing the protection.
For your child’s protection, smoking and drinking are banned for adolescents by Canadian law. However, they are still common amongst teens and St. Lawrence Dentistry can help educate them about the deleterious effects. If you suspect your teen may be drinking alcohol remind them that it is dehydrating and causes decreased salivary flow which in turn can desiccate the teeth leading to decay. Educate them about the face that cigarettes lead to bad breath, discoloured teeth, and bone loss around teeth. Moreover, blood supply in the bone surrounding teeth is severely compromised in smokers. Dr. Hawryluk repeatedly finds, in many cases, when removing a tooth from a long time smoker, there is very little blood in the sockets after the extraction due to the compromised vascularity. In contrast, a non-smoker typically has a controlled hemorrhage for a minute or so and a pooling of blood in the socket. The nerves of the jaw are also damaged from smoking and Dr. Hawryluk has found smokers on average need less local anesthetic for dental procedures because of this. You can also remind your teenage child that smoking will decrease senses of taste and smell, cause poor healing of mouth sores, and can sometimes lead to hairy tongue leukoplakia (a precursor to cancer). Smokers are three times as likely to loose all their teeth as non smokers.
To learn more about the effects of smoking and how your medical professionals can help your you or your adolescent stop this habit please visit us here:
The ages of 13-17 are a time of unlimited potential for Mississauga youths and can be a great time of life. We owe it to them to give them the knowledge they need to make good decisions for both their teeth and their health in general. St. Lawrence Dentistry would like to be your Mississauga Dental Office for your child and your whole family. We are located by the Lake Ontario in Port Credit and have plenty of parking and Saturday business hours. Please give us a call and speak to our courteous administrative staff if you would like to make an appointment.
Reference: Your Child’s Teeth, Weidman